Bad Romance Writing Advice

There are a bazillion articles about how to write–and how not to write–a romance novel. Romance sells. Annually, it is a billion dollar industry. According to the Romance Writers of America, 32% of trade paperbacks sold are romance novels, and 39% of e-books are the same. That’s a larger piece of the pie than any other genre.

Say you’re a writer that wants to get in on that pie. After all, it’s a pretty tasty pie. Romance novels are as fun to write as they are to read. There is a ton of advice out there to help you write a romance that sells. I’m here to tell you when to ignore it.

Paranormal Romance is Over:
Nope. Not even close. I’ve seen many articles that caution against writing to trends, and that also note that agents and publishers are sick to death of them. That may very well be true. The problem with trends is that many writers want to take part, and agents, publishers, and the like get tired of slogging through a slush pile filled with stories that are too similar. But the readers are not at all tired of this trend. Especially in e-books. 33% of e-book romance sales are paranormal. That is a mighty chunk of the e-book romance pie. While agents may be tired of seeing yet another vampire/romance in their email, readers are nowhere close to giving up on these stories.


People still enjoy reading about vampires and all sorts of spookiness.

My advice? If you enjoy writing paranormal romance then write it. Find ways to make your story fresh and unique. Consider non-traditional publishing venues, especially digital media. Find agents that accept paranormal if you wish to go that route. Some agents specify “no paranormal” in their submission guidelines. They won’t want yours no matter how fresh and brilliant it is. Traditional print publishing may be sick of vampires and the like, but E-book sales tell us that the readers remain hungry for more.

Don’t Write Tropes in Romance:
It’s understandable that some tropes in romance novels seem played out. Why write another love triangle when it’s been done to death? Well, maybe you should, because readers continue to enjoy tropes. Love triangles, friends becoming lovers, secret romances; those are tropes that are in the top ten that romance readers love to read. It’s a catch 22- they are popular and written often because they are enjoyed, and some people are tired of them because of that very popularity.


Don’t hide from tropes, but make them yours.

My advice? Write the trope if it fits your story and you can make it interesting or new. Don’t throw a trope in there simply because it’s popular, or you think you should. Make sure your plot has something to bring to the party in addition to the trope, don’t make the tale all about the love triangle, for example.

Romance Novels are Emotion Driven, not Plot Driven:
I disagree. Mystery Romance novels remain popular in both print and e-book sales. Yes, romance readers are expecting emotion, otherwise it’s not a romance. However, many romance readers enjoy a plot that isn’t all about the lurve. The hero and heroine falling in love while they are trying to solve the murder, stop the bad guy, or even dethrone the false king are story concepts that intrigue romance readers.


This kitty was found sick outside so we snatched her up and took her to the vet.  The action came first, then we fell in lurve with her!

My advice? If you enjoy writing mystery, try writing a mystery romance. It’s great fun to fit all the puzzle pieces together of both the romantic side, and the mystery plot.

Anticipate Future Trends:
Writing to current trends, no matter how long-lasting, it old hat. What you need to do is drag out the Ouija board and find out what the next new hot thing is, and write that. Nice work if you can get it, am I right? This advice is absolutely true. If we were all psychic, we’d all be writing the next big thing.


“What’s the next big trend in literature?”           “Hell if I know.”

My advice? I’m not psychic, and I’m guessing you aren’t either. Even if I were, and I wrote the next big trend before it was a trend, it wouldn’t be popular yet, so why would it get any attention? My best advice for you across all these issues is to write a story you want to write with all your heart. Don’t worry about second guessing what the next big deal will be. Write your story, make it as uniquely yours as you can, and polish it until it shines.

The bottom line is this: any story can be a success story if it’s well written. Stop worrying about what sort of story has the best chance of success, and start working on making your story the best it can be.

Speaking of romance novels, I have one currently in a Kindle Scout Campaign if you want to consider it for nomination.

It’s time to vote! I submitted my book, Descending, to Kindle Scout. Descending has to get votes to be noticed by the Kindle editors. The final decision is up to the editors, a lot of votes don’t get you published, but you won’t get published without a lot of votes.

What to do: If you have an Amazon account and you want to help, go to this link and vote for Descending. Each Amazon account holder gets 3 votes for books they’d like to see published.

What’s in it for you: If Descending is chosen for publication, every person who votes for it gets a FREE advance copy of the e-book, and an opportunity to review, if you wish, before anyone else.

How you can help: Vote, if you can. Share this post with friends if you are willing. Vote now! Get a free e-book!


About JulianneQJohnson

I am a writer in Indiana who lives with two cats, two ferrets, and one fiance. I enjoy cheap coffee and expensive chocolate.
This entry was posted in Bad Writing Advice, romance novel, romance novels, writing, Writing Advice and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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